The debate surrounding SC Villa’s revival just cannot go away. A few days ago, I was alerted to a sports talk show on CBS FM in which Moses Magogo, the Fufa president, said Villa and Express will never return to glory days unless they follow what he terms as the Fufa pro agenda model.
He went on to juxtapose the two traditional giants onto Real Madrid and Barcelona structures and alleged that their poor run of fortune last season was down to poor unelected leaderships. He further agitated for club elections where all fans would gather to cast their votes on leadership.
The only truth in this is that both Villa and Express didn’t meet their expectations. But beyond that, it is Magogo’s crafty machinations that continue to destabilise the two sides. Firstly, Villa or Express are not community clubs in the form of Real Madrid or Barcelona, which are self-sustaining, have assets as well as guaranteed revenue of millions of dollars. This is like comparing apples and oranges.
For instance, during my tenure as Villa president, I had a registry of 20,000 fans countrywide but when it came to payment of membership fees, only about 20 could afford yet I had to foot all bills from my pocket. Meanwhile, Magogo’s ill-conceived idea of gathering 20,000 fans for a vote is not only practically impossible unless it is flouted by Fufa to include non-members.
My takeaway from this is that Magogo is the biggest impediment to Villa because it is in his best interests that Villa looks up to him for survival. He seeks to incite fans against the club management and William Nkemba and Co. will not have peace when Magogo directly deals with rogue elements within the club.
He is also trying to confuse the Express administration by alienating it from fans. Much as Villa and Express were community clubs in terms of fan base, they were formed by individuals with goals of building a particular brand.
So, they have to reflect the traditions, values and ethos of the founders and it is for that reason a person like Hajji Omar Ahmed Mandela cannot just sink money into an ambiguous structure as it is currently.
The reason Express is slightly better off than Villa is because Kiwanuka Kiryowa has sunk in a huge personal fortune. Even then, it does not reflect in results. In spite of that huge investment as well as a good sponsorship base, the Red Eagles are still in the bottom half while clubs on a smaller budgets such as Tooro United, Mbarara City FC or Bright Stars FC are doing better. Kiwanuka has to deal with many distractions off the pitch, many of which are instigated from within the club structures.
I will not speak for Express but like I have been saying loudly of late, Villa’s solution to this is quite simple; Villa needs a soul-searching session. The club needs a non-executive patron who is regarded as an authority to unite everyone. Former president Franco Mugabe fits that portfolio and this is not necessarily new.
Back in the eighties, Patrick Kawooya had Faison Ddamulira and later Henry Balamaze Lwanga. Even at Express, there was Prince Badru Kakungulu and later Rabbi Ezekiel Mulondo. KCCA too had Bidandi Ssali. Villa today cannot be under the whims of Fufa to approve its constitution or even posture as a mediator.
I remember shortly after the aborted 2004 Villa elections in which I was unopposed, Balamaze and his board that included John Bomboka, Bob Kabuye and Mart Kiggundu, sat me down to express their reservations for a young man like me to lead the club.
I obliged to wait because these were respectable figures that pulled the strings behind the scenes to ensure there is no chaos. Today, that board is non-existent yet Villa needs guidance from top to bottom, not the other way round as Magogo wants us to believe.
The author is Nyamityobora FC president.